Step out of your comfort zone Heyneke

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Other SA Teams, Springboks on 5 Sep 2012 at 14:45
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I’m of the opinion, and it might be a harsh opinion, and one that not everyone would agree with, but if the national selectors aren’t willing to step out of their comfort zone and leave the reliability of Morne Steyn at home so that they can find a Flyhalf that can do more than just kick at goal, no amount of chopping and changing will help the Springboks

We’ve built this cushy wall behind a Flyhalf that will convert all his kicks and never take any chances of making mistakes on the field and it has closed our eyes to the possibilities that other young talented Flyhalves could bring to our game. We’re stuck in a bit of fear, our comfort zone has closed us up and although Meyer must be a little curious how another Flyhalf will fair in Morne’s place, it seems that this fear is stopping him from taking the chance to find out.

In Patrick Lambie and Elton Jantjies South Africa have two very bright talents who have been playing outstanding rugby  for their unions and have been an integral part of their success for the past 2 years. It doesn’t even matter which one of these two players you prefer as either would be a better option than our unimaginative incumbent flyhalf. Whichever player does get the opportunity however, should get at least 3 or 4 starts (meaning the rest of the Rugby Championship) to see if they could be the answer at 10 for the Boks.

Other better options at this moment would be Peter Grant, if he is available, although he looked frazzled under pressure in the S15 semi final, he has still been delivering better rugby than Steyn for the past 3 years and kicks just as well and better. My objection to his selection is age, especially given the fact that we have plenty of young talented players in this position.

If Pat and Elton do not cut the mustard, a few other options are still available that would be better than what we are sticking with now. Johan Goosen, although he might be more in the same mold as Morne, could still be a better option and at some point it would be interesting to see if he was worth all the hype (I’m thinking with Heyneke Meyer in charge we’ll see that happening sooner rather than later anyway).

Two players who has already played fly-half for South Africa, but was never really given a decent shot to prove themselves in this position, Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn, could also be given a shot at Flyhalf. The only problem with this selection would be the players’ desire to commit to this position for the Boks again, given the bad experiences they both had with playing there before. The only reason Ruan was dropped by the previous Springbok coach was his kicking accuracy, something that has not been a problem after that game.

Frans Steyn on the other hand has never really settled at flyhalf, but the main problem he had in this position before was his immaturity and the amount of bad errors that went with this, but at 25 years of age he has shown a good amount of maturity at inside centre and might just be ready to shift into this role. This would also give Jean de Villiers the opportunity to move back into the inside centre position where he has played all of his rugby (up until Heyneke Meyer) and where he made a name for himself as one of the best.

It might seem unfair to poor Morne Steyn to go to these lengths to find a permanent replacement for the 28 year old, when really, in his 39 tests for South Africa he hasn’t done much wrong, especially when you consider the main reason he was selected in the first place. The fact is Morne was never selected because he was an outstanding flyhalf, but rather because he was an outstanding kicker and a solid flyhalf. In all honesty it’s not that I think Morne should be dropped, but that since his selection, which was prompted by one bad kicking performance, other players who kicks just as well (or good enough) has emerged who also have a complete passing, running, creating and a better general ability of reading and controlling the game from this position.

Morne should not be dropped. Our car broke down and had to be sent to the workshop. A courtesy car was sent and reliably took us everywhere, but now that the Mercedes Benz AMG (I like the AMG, but you get the idea – take your pick) is ready to go and has been for 3 years we shouldn’t be driving the courtesy (or whatever smaller, cheaper, car they had available) anymore. It’s time to pull a few of the better, stronger, sportier models out of the garage and see how they run!


  • I reckon even Dan Carter would look ordinary in the Bok setup.

    Until the coach gets away from his pining for a FdP like player, and allow the flyhalf to run the game, any of the AMG’s you mention will just look like slightly souped up Tazz’es. Similarly the game plan needs to give more attacking options to the flyhalf to use. Currently on first phase it is Frans Steyn crashing it up, and on general phase play a pod of forwards in the 12 channel crashing it up.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.09.12 15:02:56 by Bokhoring Reply
  • PLEASE can we not go down the route of playing either Pienaar or Fransie at 10…PLEASE!!!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.09.12 15:06:19 by Viking Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 1) :

    I resent that!!

    There’s nothing wrong with a souped up Tazz!! 😆 😈

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.09.12 15:18:35 by wpw Reply
  • Remember the days of Naas Botha? We seem to have regressed rather than progressed in that way. When Kitch Christie was around, he used players based on merit and look where it took us – to the top of the world.Morne is a Naas type player – skop alles wat na my toe kom – and quite frankly it has gotten us into a lot more trouble than than good. On the back foot all the time, defending the advantage line. If you used a Lambie,Jantjies or even Meyer Bosman (don’t misjudge him), you would get over the gain line more often & the forwards would have more time to attack & protect & get advantage.This would allow the ball to be spread wide to the wings & (if they are ever chosen) we have some of the most devastating finishers in the world.Don’t play a player out of his natural position (ala Pienaar & Frans),because it will take them ages to recover & get their confidence back.(Case in point – Pienaar). Anyway let’s get behind our boys & God willing, the impact players (notably Lambie & Mvovo) will be used.As a parting shot, Goosen & Vermeulen needed more game time & Keegan could have been used.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.09.12 15:24:11 by markm Reply

  • Sadly our 9’s are under fire for Morné poor performances.

    In typical Bulls fashion, HM want a scrummie to ensure his average first choice fh gets the best ball without any pressure. (think Joost and FdP)

    HM drops Houghaard because his style doesn’t suite Morné, now he gets Pienaar in because Pienaar knows how to run the show, making Morné nothing more than just a receiver of good ball, and not a creator of attacking ball.

    So Pienaar will have to handle the tactical kicking, passing to one of the rhino pods, skip passing to 12 for a backline move, or passing to Morné for an up and under. 🙄

    This in tern means that we’ll never have to use a genuine FH, because our scrummie has been promoted to running the show.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.09.12 15:33:12 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 3) : If you had a choice between an AMG or a souped up Tazz ??

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.09.12 15:40:44 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) :

    Obviously the AMG. 🙄

    It’s like comparing Goosen (AMG) to Lambie (Tazz) 😈

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.09.12 15:56:57 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 7) : 🙄 Pasop, van die tannies hierso gaan jou hard bl#$?%m vir daai opmerking

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.09.12 16:06:47 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 1) : “‘I can improve a lot as an attacking flyhalf,’ Steyn said before theorising about the root of his struggles. ‘When I arrived at the Bulls in 2003 I was more of an attacking flyhalf, but coach Heyneke Meyer explained to me that if I wanted to take the step up I needed to improve my tactical kicking game.

    ‘It’s the kicking that’s doing the job at the moment. The Bulls and Boks play more of a kicking than running game, so it required me to adjust accordingly. But having said that, my running game has suffered as a result. I know I have to grow that area of my game.’

    Steyn was confident that he, and by extension the collective, would become more potent as their synergy and cohesion improved. He agreed that the World Cup success of 2007 featured panache as much as it did pragmatism in an attacking sense, but stressed that it has become a significantly more difficult to score tries this time around.

    ‘You have to consider that every team in the tournament has improved defensively, particularly in their gainline contest. That demands that teams have a good kicking strategy. That’s not to say there mustn’t be variation,’ he said.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.09.12 17:00:58 by Megatron Reply

  • gee wiz I AM a Super Rugby Player now!!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.09.12 17:12:43 by Megatron Reply

  • The problem isn’t that MS is playing badly (his kicking as well) it is that he is hampering the boks moving forward in our game due to the way he is playing. And being brought in as a kicker and I shall quote Mallet here ” If he is there to kick and he isn’t kicking???”

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.09.12 07:55:04 by Dunx Reply

  • The problem is our forwards aren´t coming to the party. Besides the fact that we have a number of noobs in the forwards, the ou manne aren´t pulling there weight.

    Even Carter would struggle behind this pack.

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.09.12 09:01:42 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 10) : well done Megs

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.09.12 09:14:41 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @rhineshark (Comment 12) : How hard would you be willing to work if all your efforts to keep or regain possession is rubbished by kicking the ball away?

    I can imagine it becomes demoralising after the 12th time it happens.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.09.12 09:15:26 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 12) : Problem is that at this level you cannot just blow the opposition’s forwards away – all the top teams have forwards as big and strong as yours.

    It means you need to start playing more intelligently, add some unpredictability to your attack – manufacture some mismatches for your strike runners to exploit.

    Everyone can predict what the Boks will do 5 moves ahead, and adjust their defences accordingly.

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.09.12 09:19:54 by Bokhoring Reply
  • give it time, if HM makes one or two adjustments after every game then at least we’ll get there by end of year tour, as long as he gives the young guys some game time of the bench.he isn’t doing it right now but he will have to some time.

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.09.12 09:21:02 by MJ Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 12) : Our forwards played fine in the first 4 games under HM, it was only the second Argentina game that we were outplayed in the forwards, but that’s probably because it took other teams only 4 games to figure out exactly what HM wants his team to do.

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.09.12 09:52:31 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 17) : And when a single forward runs into two forwards from the opposite team, guess who uses the most energy.

    HM’s gameplan is not very ergonomic, hence all the injuries.

    Forward run into wall, fight to keep possession, chase ball to regain possession, scrum, fight to keep possession, Forward run into wall, fight to keep possession, run to regain possession, lineout, fight to drive it up from the lineout…repeat.

    Guess who’s doing all the work on the field, for the full 80 minutes. Our forwards have to be the biggest, fittest, fastest, strongest…can anybody tell me why we have a backline?

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.09.12 10:24:15 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 17) : I disagree completely…the only time this “gameplan” seems to work is when the opposition forwards are 1. smaller than ours 2. are really NOT mentally prepared for the physicality of the contest.

    everyone keeps raving about te 1st half of the jo’burg test and the reason we looked so fantastic was that the Pom forwards were being DEMOLISHED by our forwards, mainly alberts. Question is what happened in the 2nd half? why couldn’t we sustain the momemntum and rampage to a big score?

    as soon as the Argies stepped up and got fire in their bellies in Mendoza the Boks were like headless chickens..

    in the 3rd Test in PE where Lancaster included Haskell & Waldrom because of injuries to Robshaw and others the Poms matched and slightly got the better of Marcell, Pottie & Spies deputised by Kanko & Keegan…

    it is stupid to go around talking about “my mantra is execution over innovation, i believe we have to FORCE our gameplan on the opposition and because we need gain line dominance to achieve our goals i’m picking Pottie because he is heavier”


  • Comment 19, posted at 06.09.12 10:40:47 by Megatron Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 18) : I think all SA rugby coaches should go on a basic physics course.

    They should also study proponents of martial arts and wrestling where you subdue your opponent through good technique, and not just pure brute force.

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.09.12 10:59:02 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 20) : Imagine having a guy of Alberts’ size running at you, you’ll hustle to get one or two of your buddies to try and stop him, when all of a sudden he pulls the skills of Keegan on ya’ and offloads to a supporting player as he spins way from the point of contact.

    Three players are taken out of the defensive line and he’s put a guy into space without having suffered a concussion.

    Now I don’t mind watching Alberts running through three defenders the whole game, but eventually the guy will fall apart.

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.09.12 11:18:03 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 19) : @rhineshark (Comment 12) : I know our forwards aren’t being used in the best way, but up until the last test they were the best thing we had going for us, because they are strong and skilled players.

    I was replying to rhineshark’s comment – Even Carter would struggle behind this pack – which I think it absolute nonsense. Morne Steyn got plenty of good ball that he did nothing with, which much be discouraging for the forwards.

    Ruan Pienaar with Pat Lambie/Elton Jantjies/Johan Goosen would definitely make a huge difference regardless of which players Meyer chooses to play in the forwards.

    Firstly, these players are more talented better thinking half-backs, who will if you give them half a chance create something.

    Secondly, if Meyer does select these players, it must mean that he is stepping out of his – kick every ball we get – thinking. (Aside from maybe Goosen, because I don’t think Meyer picked him for any other reason, but to kick the ball really far, as he can do.)

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.09.12 12:27:27 by Letgo Reply
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